Qantas are firing up their scenic day flights to The Ice again this November, this time with modern 787 Dreamliners instead of the now-retired Qantas Boeing 747s that were used the past 26 years.
Flights are technically classed as domestic because they don’t land, meaning a) they’re permitted under current travel restrictions as you’ll depart and return to the same airport and b) you won’t need your passport to step aboard.
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The chartered Qantas services courtesy of Antarctica Flights start at $1199 for restricted economy seats — cheaper than your cancelled flights for Euro summer (and way more unique, tbh) — so it looks like all items on your bucket list haven’t been scratched for this year just yet.
Departing from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, passengers will be able to soak up the world’s last great wilderness (and only continent on the planet without COVID-19) from the air — taking in the mountains, glaciers and coastline of this desolate polar landscape.
The flight is between 12 and 14 hours, but just three hours south of Australia you’ll catch sight of the first scattered ice, followed by dozens of icebergs and ice floes. The flight then crosses the South Magnetic Pole, where the rugged mountains of the mainland begin to appear.
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There are 19 possible flight routes and you’ll be guaranteed views from both sides of the aircraft. Huge plus: Dreamliner windows are 65 percent larger than any other vessel of its size. If you were ever going to take this life-changing trip, you’d want to do it on this plane.
There are also real-life expert Antarctic expeditioners onboard to talk about the polar environment and its history (!!!) and full bar service.
The flights are carbon neutral, a commitment to respecting this pristine environment. In fact, the Antarctic Flights website says that passengers are so impacted by the journey that, “many of our guests go on to become environmental ambassadors”.
If you’re still nervous about getting on a flight in our new COVID-19 dystopian reality, Qantas are implementing extra protocols to ensure health and safety.
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Contactless temperature checks will be conducted on all passengers before boarding (those with a temperature of 38 degrees or higher won’t be allowed to board but they’ll receive a credit for a future flight).
Passengers are given a personal Qantas pack for the flight including a disposable mask, sanitiser and disinfectant wipes, plus an extra headrest cover and sanitising wipes are provided for the seat rotation that happens half-way throughout the journey.
The best part is that they’re selling less economy seats than usual so there’s more room onboard. Pandemic or not, that’s the kind of vibe you’d want for such a special flight.
This is all in addition to strict cleaning protocols onboard. Read more about it all here.
(Lead Image: Antarctica Flights)
Sonia feels most at home on the road, with travel her greatest passion. But really, she’s hype about a lot of things: beautiful design, tasty food, wellness, nature, interesting people and women’s issues. The Founding Editor of Junkee’s The Cusp and former Homes Editor at Nine, Sonia prides herself on seeking out authentic experiences with charm and loves sharing a personal rec. Catch her on Instagram @sonnietothetee.